A NEW location for an internal staircase has been refused at the historic Abbey Barn Café in Church Street, Abbotsbury.

Dorset Council has ruled that it would cause ‘harm’ to the Grade 1 listed, building and cited ‘anomalies and discrepancies’ in the proposals for changes to the building.

A council report says that some works to the cafe building have already been carried out, some of which it considers to be unauthorised: “The works that have been implemented and that appear to be proposed for retention are considered harmful to the character and integrity of the listed building,” concluded a planning case officer.

There is also criticism, from the council, of the use of what it says is ‘inappropriate’ insulatation between rafters including foil-backed insulation, not normally sanctioned in listed buildings because it can trap moisture.

A council report lists a number of what it says are unauthorised changes to the building which have already taken place, including the internal insulation, an unauthorised kitchen flue opening and a new internal opening within walls at first floor level with inappropriate brickwork as well as changes to a ceiling and floorboarding.

The report says that these should have been the subject of consultation with the Council and will now require a separate planning consent, if the changes are to be retained.

The authority reports says the Abbey Barn Café appears to have once been used for stabling and as a cart shed with a planning consent granted in 2007 to create the café.

The site, part of the Ilchester Estate, is within the Abbotsbury Conservation Area and a National Designated Landscape (previously known as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

A council report says that the applicant was offered the opportunity to withdraw the application rather than have it refused and to submit a pre-application submission to help overcome the issues, but the offer was not taken up.